Imagine a group of teenagers, locked in a place they can’t escape from, with a mysterious evil stalker hunting them down one by one. It could probably describe the basic plot of a good handful of slasher-style horror movies, characterised by films like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream.
The Unwanted treads the same path and, while it’s well executed, it fails to bring the chill of horror that the movies it aims to emulate can manage. The trouble with the slasher genre as a whole is that it relies on a rigid structure and a very linear narrative, so it can build up the tension and deal shock surprises designed to make you jump out of your skin. This is harder to do in comics, where panels and pages can be easily absorbed at a glance and the pacing is ultimately dictated by the whim of the reader.
This basically leaves The Unwanted as a slasher comic with few surprises, though there are plenty of wanton killings and some fairly gruesome images. But the monochromatic artistic style lets us take a step back from the horror, and the characters have little time or inclination to mourn their fallen comrades, so neither do we.
A horror fan who just can’t get enough from their comics and movies may still get a kick out of this – as we’ve already mentioned, it’s a well executed genre piece. The trouble is with the genre itself – the story adds little to what’s already a fairly tired concept, and there’s a good argument to suggest that this kind of story works significantly better at the movies than in the pages of a comic book.